SILVER SPRING, MD—Today the Montgomery County Planning Board approved amending the existing facility plan for North Four Corners Local Park in Silver Spring to allow for renovation and modification of the park.
“Our purpose for this project has always been to provide the best park possible,” said Department of Parks Landscape Architect Heidi Sussmann.
Department of Parks staff presented three alternatives today to address the Planning Board’s December 6 direction to rotate the position of the proposed new athletic field at the park, reconfigure parking, provide additional buffers from field activity for some of the adjacent community and leave a portion of the new park area in its existing state. Today, parks staff recommended a modified alternative to its December 6 recommendation, which reduces the cost of the project by approximately $1.1 million.
The Planning Board approved amending the park’s existing facility plan to create a new rectangular soccer field adjacent to University Boulevard, remove an existing field located deeper within the park near neighborhood homes, and redesign paths, playground and landscaping. Parks staff was directed to combine elements of today’s recommendation with the December 6 recommendation, and implement the design and construction of the renovation and expansion of the park in a phased approach.
Although the Board cited the need for more soccer fields in the county, some community members providing testimony at today’s meeting expressed concern over the new athletic field planned for the park, questioning the suitability of North Four Corners Local Park as the site for a soccer field and pointing to the need for funding other parks priorities, such as historic and cultural resources, and questioning the maintenance and management of park fields to prevent overuse. One community member noted the distinction between local parks and neighborhood parks, pointing out that as a local park those who do not live in the neighborhood surrounding North Four Corners are stakeholders in the decisions about the park too and many in the broader area want soccer fields.
During today’s meeting, Sussmann further added about local parks: “Within the parks system, we have 132 developed local parks, 59 of which have one field, 56 have two fields and 14 have over three fields. Only three local parks in our system have no athletic fields and they’re sort of anomalies.”
With today’s Board action and direction, the approved plan will combine two recommendations, Alternative 2 and Alternative 2 Modified, into a final plan for the park. The park will include new pathways, pedestrian connections, seating plazas, streetscaping at University Boulevard, a new playground, many amenities, landscaping, drainage improvements, buffers from active field use, parking enhancements and a new larger athletic field to serve all ages.
The approved plan includes Alternative 2 Modified within the new 6-acre parcel fronting University Boulevard, and Alternative 2 within the existing 7.9-acre parcel; with the conditions that the proposed playground be relocated to the corner of the existing field space and that the expansion of the existing parking lot be a second phase of the park implementation.
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Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks